Acidity & GERD are caused by an imbalance of stomach acid (HCl) and an improperly functioning esophageal sphincter. In recent studies, inflammation has been identified as one of the possible causes of acidity. A bacteria known as H. Pylori also appears to play a significant role in some patients. This is the same bacteria that is responsible for the formation of ulcers.
The problem with the most common treatments for acidity is that they revolve around the concept that acid needs to be balanced or inhibited. The problem is that in many cases, we find that by giving something acidic, the patient gets relief. That may sound counter-productive, however, when acid is diluted, it can cause the symptoms of acidity. This may be due to the fact that the esophageal sphincter closes in the presence of acid, and the lack of proper acid results in the sphincter not closing.
What is most important, it to use clinically tested remedies that are able to give long-lasting effects without compromising the absorption of nutrients (as most antacids do).
However, in order to know which remedies to use, one must first know what is causing their acidity. This has to be determined by a holistic/Ayurvedic doctor.
Based on the Cause:
The cause of GERD remains a mystery in many cases, however, several theories do exist. These theories indicate the following potential causes:
-Too little acid
-Too much acid
-H. Pylori infection
Speak to a doctor about identifying the causative factor and use the following under a doctors supervision.
– Too Little Acid
In the case of too little acid, supplementing the body with healthy acids can help. The best solution for this is Amla. This fruit contains multiple acids and has been used in a clinical trial for treating acid reflux – (See the study). Consuming Amla before meals is a general remedy for acidity. Amla can be used long term and is known for having several clinical-proven benefits for many other aspects of health. Talk to a doctor about whether Amla is suitable for your condition and if it is safe to be taken with whatever other medicines and supplements you are taking.
– Too Much Acid
The use of antacids such as Licorice Root or Baking Soda can help in neutralizing excessive acid in the stomach. It is generally better to use DGL instead of regular licorice root if this has to be used long term. Baking Soda is a quick acting solution and has many other benefits for the human body. Keep in mind that if you have to continuously use these remedies without getting permanent relief, you may have an issue with too little acid or an H. Pylori infection. (See study)
In the case of inflammation, consuming foods that are anti-inflammatory in nature can be of great benefit. Using a Curcumin supplement can help as well, however, avoid using Turmeric, as the whole herb can increase acidity. Curcumin is just the active ingredient and does not increase acidity (in my clinical experience). Of course, if you go to an Ayurvedic doctor, they can put you on a much stronger anti-inflammatory.
– H. Pylori
Licorice Root has been seen to effectively manage H. Pylori and acidity (See study 1 & study 2). It can be used safely as in the form of DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) in most people or as whole licorice root if used for short periods of time in patients who are not hypertensive, pre-hypertensive or on diuretics. A doctor can determine what dose is right for you and if it is suitable for your condition and with whatever other medications you may be taking. Avoid whole Licorice root if you are taking diuretics, steroids or are hypertensive.
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
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by Dr. Nishal R.